Sovereign Immunity v. Redress for War Crimes: The Judgment of the International Court of Justice in the Case Concerning Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy)

In: International Community Law Review
Stefania Negri University of Salerno Italy

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In the judgment delivered in the case concerning Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy), the International Court of Justice held that under the present state of international customary law State immunity encompasses all acta jure imperii, regardless of whether they are unlawful. Following the ruling that States are entitled to jurisdictional immunities before foreign courts even if their sovereign acts amount to violations of peremptory norms, the Court found that Italy had violated Germany’s immunity from jurisdiction and enforcement. In rendering such a conservative judgment, the Court missed a double opportunity: to contribute to the development of international law by interpreting the rule on sovereign immunity in harmony with international human rights law and its dynamics, and to finally serve justice for the victims of war crimes.

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